Principles of Change: The Second of Nine

Lost a Job? Starting a Business? Here's How to Cope

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Ariane de Bonvoisin
Ariane de Bonvoisin

I've interviewed thousands of people going through all types of change -- job loss, divorce, a cancer diagnosis, a baby, a new business -- and I've noticed some very similar patterns, behaviors and attitudes in people who are good at change. I've discovered nine principles, and I'll highlight one of them in each of my columns in the next few months. Here, then, is the next one:

Principle 2: The Change Guarantee: From this situation something good will come. (Write this down somewhere visible!) People who successfully navigate change know that change always brings something positive into their lives. Every change has something good associated with it eventually.

More Principles of Change
People who successfully navigate change have positive beliefs.

Often the reason why something is happening is not clear -- and it's certainly not immediate. Sometimes it might take years for you to look back and think "I now see why this happened the way it did."When change hits, the first word that comes out of our mouths is "Why?" Why did this happen to me? Why did I lose the deal, not get promoted, not get the job, get dumped, lose the money? If you find yourself in the "why" mode, consider asking a different question: What for? What could be good about this? What could you go ahead and do differently now? What opportunity is now available? How can you make this be worth it? What did you really learn from all this? The more quickly you answer these questions, the more quickly the situation will turn around. People who are good at change do not earn Oscars in the self pity/poor me/victim/blame category.

Believe me, I've asked people who've lost loved ones, seen their businesses go bankrupt and had their health threatened, and I have always gotten them to answer the question, "What good came from this?"

Life is on your side
Here's where it gets interesting: Most people think life is against them, trying to piss them off, that they are unlucky, that things don't work out for them. Einstein said that "the most important decision we will ever make in our lives is whether we believe we live in a friendly or an unfriendly universe." If you want to get good at change, you must believe life is your partner, on your side, conspiring for greater good coming into your life -- despite the apparent immediate loss it might appear to be. Change isn't there to hurt, anger or annoy you. It's there to bring new things, people, jobs, opportunities. Always.

The mindset of folks who are good at change is one of abundance. There are more jobs, more money, more intimate partners, more deals. You can immediately tell if someone lives in scarcity or abundance. Which one are you? What about the people around you?

Ariane de Bonvoisin shares her change secrets in a free daily e-mail. Her book, "The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Making Any Change Easier," is now available in paperback.

Endings always yield new beginnings. When you get good at change, you become an expert in letting go, in not clinging, in not controlling how things unfold. In the middle of change, become comfortable with the temporary in-between period. Rushing to fill the void with the first job, relationship or deal that shows up doesn't yield success.

New experiences are important
There is no rush, despite how you feel. Those who can delay instant solutions and gratification are always rewarded.

Here's one last thing to think about: The core of who you are comes from new experiences, not from keeping everything together perfectly.

The very best of you shows up during times of change and what you allow change to teach you and give you next.

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